Joint Letter Calling on Long Island Colleges and Universities to Work to Expand Diversity in Teaching Careers

Elected leaders of color on Long Island call for Long Island-based institutions of higher education to apply for and implement the Teacher Opportunity Corps II program

LONG ISLAND, NY Today, Assemblymember Michaelle Solages (D-Elmont) and other Long Island Assemblymembers Phil Ramos, Kimberly Jean-Pierre, and Taylor Darling, as well as Senators Anna Kaplan and Kevin Thomas issued a joint letter to Long Island-based institutions of higher education calling on them to apply for and implement the Teacher Opportunity Corps II program at the soonest possible opportunity in order to expand diversity in teaching careers.

The goal of the Teacher Opportunity Corps II is to increase the number of students from marginalized communities in teaching careers. Colleges and universities that offer this program to students provide tuition support, internship opportunities, teacher mentors, access to professional conferences, and exam cost reimbursement.Unfortunately, there is only one institution on Long Island that has implemented this program.

Assemblymember Michaelle Solages notes how this impacts her constituents, “Young students from marginalized communities who aspire to be teachers should not have to give up their dream due to a lack of resources,” stated Assemblymember Michaelle Solages. “People of color and people who come from low-income backgrounds are underrepresented in educational careers. The Teacher Opportunity Corps II program provides resources that will increase the number of teachers who reflect the diverse student bodies that they will be responsible for educating.”

Senator Anna M. Kaplan said, “On Long Island, our diversity is our strength, and it’s important that our kids see the diversity of our communities reflected not only among their classmates, but their teachers as well. Creating opportunities for more young people in marginalized communities to become educators will ensure our classrooms are as diverse as our communities and provide a pipeline of talented teachers to do the vital work of educating our next generation.”

Assemblymember Phil Ramos said, “A zip code should never stand in the way of the next generation of educators. My Brother’s Keeper Teacher Opportunity Corps II greatly expands opportunities for students from marginalized communities to pursue teaching careers. This program provides needed assistance to help ensure that economic status is not the deciding factor in our students’ futures.”